Crossing state lines to find forever homes

Some very lucky dogs from the Lone Star state are now forever frolicking in the San Juans.

Three families on Lopez Island and one from Orcas have adopted puppies from Texas rescue organizations.

Cindi Lund and her husband Dana Lund scoured the internet looking for the perfect furry addition to their family, finally settling on a puppy named Annie from Tall Tails Rescue.

“Their big van arrived at a ranch in Olympia, Washington with a load of about 20 dogs. It happened that one of the dogs on the van had kennel cough, so all of the other dogs in the van were probably infected. They told us we were not obligated to take the dog since she was infected, but we chose to keep her. They provided us with medication to treat the kennel cough, and well as worming medication. She was already spayed and vaccinated; part of the adoption fee covers those treatments. I learned after the fact that it is good to check out the rescue group before sending them money, to make sure they are legitimate.”

When she arrived at her new home on Lopez last October, Annie was four months old and 17 pounds. She is now 35 pounds, and after a DNA test, was determined to be primarily a Lab/Australian Cattle dog/Staffordshire terrier mix.

“She is a delight, we feel very fortunate. There are so many possible problems that she DOESN’T have,” Lund said. “In the adoption papers they gave us was an article called ‘The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule of Adopting a Rescue Dog.’ It was very helpful in managing expectations. … The other thing I would highly recommend is a book called ‘Respect Training for Puppies’ or ‘Respect Training for Adult Dogs,’ by Michele Welton.”

Iris and Jerry Graville adopted two-year-old, 60-pound yellow lab and Siberian husky mix Booker from the Three Little Pitties Rescue. He arrived in Marysville at 7 a.m. in early January in a semi-truck with 300 other pets.

“Our previous dog, Buddy, died last May, and we, and our two cats, were missing dog companionship,” said Iris. “Because of COVID-19, we hoped to find a dog nearby, but those listed on Petfinder were quickly adopted. After a couple of months of that experience, we started to consider dogs listed online through Petfinder as being from shelters in Texas.”

Several of the dogs they were interested in came from Three Little Pitties, so Iris provided detailed information on the breed and characteristics they were looking for.

“After missing out on a few dogs (again, they were adopted soon after posting), we were interviewed by phone. We discussed what we hoped for in a dog, and we learned more about the organization. It was a great way for us all to learn more about each other, and it was nice to have a contact in the organization,” she said.

The Gravilles say Booker’s adjustment to his new home on Lopez was flawless.

“We’ve gradually introduced him to neighborhood humans and dogs, and though he’s a bit timid at first, he warms up quickly. His personality is sweet; he’s all we’d hoped for in a dog,” Iris said. “For anyone interested in adopting a rescue dog, I suggest that you ask a lot of questions about the dog’s personality and history (though the shelter might not know much about that). Once our application was accepted, it helped to have someone from the organization we could talk to and email directly. If they can send you videos of the dog, that’s a big help, too.”

Stephanie Cariker and her family joyfully welcomed Hocus, now six months old, in January. Cariker says he is likely a boxer, pitbull and ridgeback mix.

“I had applied to adopt over 20 different dogs between October and December 2020. Many of the rescues didn’t even bother responding, others sent back short notes saying the dog had already been adopted, or that that specific pup wasn’t apt for small kids, or that you could only be approved if you had a fence already in place. It was frustrating, to say the least,” she said.

Cariker decided to try a different route and inquired with friends about matching up two unfixed dogs. But after finding a suitable pairing, it wasn’t a successful union. Her friend Mary suggested looking for pooches in Texas.

“So, I began searching again. Using, I amplified my search to include out-of-town dogs,” she explained. “Again I filled out dozens of applications only to come in too late, or never hear back. My son said to me, ‘Mom, you are doing that thing that you do when you get really obsessed about something. Maybe you should just stop.’ I looked at his wise little eyes and said, ‘You know what, you are right. God will bring us the right dog at the right time.’ I closed my computer and cuddled into my kiddos. The next morning I had a call from Texas.”

A woman from God’s Dog in San Antonio was responding to Cariker’s application for a blue-eyed puppy named Hocus. Three weeks later, he arrived in Bothell and was driven to his new home of five acres on Lopez Island.

“He’s perfect,” Cariker said. “A bit scared of things but growing more confident every day. He took to our family as if he’d always just been part of it. The whole family is absolutely smitten.”

Grace McCune and Greg Ripley of Orcas adopted their beloved dachshund terrier mix Jasper nearly three years ago. After great consideration, they decided to expand their family around six months ago.

“Very soon we found out that during this pandemic, small breed rescue puppies were very popular and there was an unprecedented amount of people looking to find these types of four-legged family members to adopt,” McCune said. “After months of searching for a rescue pup with no luck, through the Petco Foundation, we finally found our little Misha. Her mother is a mini-dachshund who was pregnant at a kill shelter in Texas when she was adopted by her foster mom, Jessica, from Hay-Dude Equine rescue, also in Texas.”

Misha was born in Jessica’s home and given a loving start in the world. After McCune and Ripley were approved for her adoption, she was transported — along with many other dogs — in a kenneled van with the Texas Chihuahua Rescue group. They picked her up at the PAWS shelter in Lynnwood on Nov. 21.

“Misha is a beautiful, blue-haired, blue-eyed pup that has absolutely stolen our hearts and is a perfect fit for our little family,” McCune said. “Jasper is now a proud big brother. We are so grateful for all the loving people involved in bringing Misha into our lives.”

Booker during his first week on Lopez.
Iris Graville and Booker.
Hocus with his new siblings, Juan and Amara.
Hocus at home on Lopez.
Jasper and Grace McCune with Misha (far right) on the first day they met.
Misha in a stocking.